Fake blood is fun to play with, Bailey Bass tells Bustle over Zoom. The Interview with the Vampire star credits this discovery to her costar, Jacob Anderson, who realized that the sticky substance “makes a quacking noise when you separate your hands.”
It’s how the cast keeps things light, which is a necessity on a show that deals with this much immortal dread. In AMC’s adaptation of Anne Rice’s 1976 novel, Bass plays Claudia, a young vampire adopted by her coffin-dwelling dads Louis (Anderson) and Lestat (Sam Reid). Claudia has fun with her newfound powers until she realizes she’ll never grow beyond the age of 14 — a terrifying thought for anyone who remembers being a teen.
Exploring Claudia’s playful and dark sides can be challenging. When Bass wasn’t fooling around with sticky fake blood with her castmates, she was prepping for Claudia’s first kill by “[writing] the most morbid things” in a notebook — much like the diary her character keeps. “I scribbled like nobody’s business,” she says. But even when Claudia is at deadly odds with her dads — she’s on a mission to take down Lestat in the finale — Bass stays close to her costars, bonding with them over an offhand moment related to a certain Disney Channel show. There’s a song from Austin & Ally that got stuck in Bass’ head. “[It goes], ‘I’m a little butterfly,’” she says. “I started humming it, and then Jacob’s like, ‘What are you singing?’ And now all of us sing that song on set.”
Bass’ Gen Z energy doesn’t just lend itself to on-set entertainment, though. It also helps her tap into the unique challenges of being a vampire who’s a kid yearning for adulthood. “I’m 19, where I’m so close to my mom, and I want to be with her all the time,” she says. “But then I also want to be my own person. And Claudia goes through those exact emotions … I think that’s why people cling to her so much.”
Before her turn as Claudia, Bass’ first time on a proper set was at 13 years old, doing motion capture for Avatar: The Way of Water, where she plays Tsireya. While that film comes out in December, production began half a decade ago. So while starring in the sequel to the highest-grossing film ever sounds like a guaranteed flight of passage to mainstream stardom, Bass couldn’t reap the benefits right away. Other projects didn’t come easily in the interim, either. “It was actually very hard for me to get a callback,” she says. “Looking back at it, I had a lot of work to do. I knew how to play Tsireya in Avatar like the back of my hand, but it’s learning to play other characters.”
Taking the time to practice that kind of immersion was “a humbling experience,” Bass says, but it was worth it. “All of my friends, family, team members, they’re like, ‘Bailey, that period in your life led you to play Claudia.’”
Get to know more about Bass in her Bustle Booth questionnaire below.
In The Bustle Booth
What are the saved weather locations on your phone?
New York, Manhattan, and Los Angeles.
What’s your sign?
Favorite overused movie quote?
Huge Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 spoiler alert: I say, “Finally” in the same tone as one of the Volturi members when he dies. It’s epic! I remember watching it in theaters.
And then I say, “See you on the other side” from Central Intelligence. I rewatched it recently and thought the comedic repeat of that line was hilarious.
Both my quotes are very if you know you know, but that’s part of the fun.
What was your favorite cartoon as a kid?
What’s one movie or TV show you’re currently obsessed with?
I mean, genuinely the answer is Interview with the Vampire. I know it’s my show, BUT, to be fair, I’ve been watching each episode weekly like the fans, and I’ve been reading their reactions. I feel like I’m reliving the show with the fans, which is really special.
Who is your celeb idol?
I don’t like to idolize people… other than my mama. So, I know she’s not a celeb, but I’m gonna have to say my mama.
If you had to be on a reality TV show, what would it be?
Oh my goodness!!! Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I just want to be their advisor or mediator. The drama is real… and I’m here for it.
Go-to karaoke song?
I’ve been obsessed with High School Musical lately and have been listening to the soundtracks again. So I’m gonna have to say, “Gotta Go My Own Way” by Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron.
What’s something that’s inspiring you lately?
Definitely songwriting. I got the opportunity to write a Christmas song for a movie I performed in last year. From playing a couple of chords, to building harmonies, to pouring myself into lyrics, it’s such an escape. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to cultivate my passions into work.
What is something you would want people to say about you?
I’d want people to say that I’m a kind person with a good heart. JLo said something in her Super Bowl special that really stuck with me. She said something along the lines of, “People don’t remember you for how many awards you’ve won, people remember you for how you’ve made them feel.” And it’s true, kindness has to come first… always <3